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The Latest Dive News

Last updated June 3, 2002

Is PADI Training Terrorits?
Fiji Deal
Myths of Diving
Shallow Water Caution
Caribbean Hurricane Season
Last Minute Escape
More Bleaching
Little Cayman Diver

Is PADI Training Terrorists? June 3, 2002

FBI agents throughout the nation are talking with training agency officials and visiting dive shops to detect if they've been unwittingly training terrorists. Jeff Nadler, PADI vice president for industry and government relations, said the FBI is "looking for every single certified diver, and people who began training and didn't complete it during the last three years.” The FBI has warned that "various terrorist elements have sought to develop an offensive scuba diver capability." The warning is based on unsubstantiated information, but the FBI has cautioned that while "there is no evidence of operational planning to utilize scuba divers to carry out attacks within the United States, there is a body of information showing the desire to obtain such capability." Possible terrorist plots could include blowing up a bridge, nuclear plant or underwater power lines. "It's actually a real easy thing to do," Doug Goergens, a St. Louis shop owner. "You only need to get sucked into the air vent of a nuclear plant. Or you could put charges on a pier of a bridge. Anything that could be done underwater to destroy a structure could happen."The agents are especially interested in rebreather training, which is more conducive to surreptitious activity. Gary Miller, an instructor at the Dive Shop of St. Louis, said agents seemed most concerned about students who signed up for classes and seemed suspicious or dropped out. They asked Terry Myers, the owner of Depthfinders Dive Center in Port Charlotte, Fl, whether he has had any Middle Eastern students. Dan Yearout, owner of Beneath the Waves in Vancouver, WA, said he gave an agent the name of one former student who came to mind due to nationality and criminal history. (From Undercurrent interviews and AP and various newspaper reports)

Fiji Deal June 3, 2002

Fiji's Crystal Divers (http://www.crystaldivers.com) constantly gets raves from Undercurrent's well-traveled divers, who not only love the operation, but marvel at the great corals, and abundant and big fish. They go where the live-aboards go, into the Bligh Waters on the northwest corner of the main island, Viti Levu. They're about two hours by car from the Nadi airport. They're offering a fall special to Undercurrent readers and email subscribers: $150 off their packages. So, for six nights in an ocean view bure (with A/C) at Wananavu Resort, five days of two tank dives, meals, return Airport transfers, day room on departure day, and a complimentary T-shirt, the prices start at $1399/person, double occupancy. The offer is good August through October of this year. Contact reservations@crystaldivers.com or info@crystaldivers.com and be sure to mention Undercurrent to get this deal.

Myths of Diving June 3, 2002

At the last Great Lakes Chapter of the Underwater Hyperbaric Medical Society, the participants listed the major myths of diving:

Computers make diving safe. You cannot get bent on a single tank dive. You must make a mistake to get bent. A 72 Cubic foot cylinder was designed for 60 minutes at 60 feet. Extra weight solves the buoyancy problem. A dry suit eliminates the need for a buoyancy compensator. If the regulator leaks you must abort. People with disabilities should not dive. Shallow diving is safe.

Shallow Water Caution June 3, 2002

Diving too frequently in less than 30 feet of water is often just as risky as surfacing too quickly from 130 feet, says Dr. David Griffiths, director of the hyperbaric medical unit of the Townsville Hospital in Australia. He told Australian AP that the bends coming from frequent shallow diving "are not typically life?threatening but that doesn't mean that they may not cause permanent disability. Data from four major hyperbaric centers around Australia showed around 10 per cent of those with decompression sickness had been diving at 30 feet or less," Griffiths said.

Caribbean Hurricane Season June 3, 2002

If you're planning a dive trip to Florida or the Caribbean this fall, you might be in for trouble. Researchers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say that this hurricane season should be busier than an average season, which has eight to eleven named storms, including five to seven hurricanes. Their greater concern this year is that there could be three or more major hurricanes (with winds greater than 110 mph), or about double the normal number of intense storms. "There are these incredible robust signals," said Stanley Goldberg, a NOAA meteorologist. While hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, "October can be a killer month when you're in an active era," Goldberg said.

Last Minute Escape June 3, 2002

Cathay Pacific, which flies to nine Southeast Asia destinations, has made it easy to put together last minute dive trips. If you're 55 or older that is. You can get low fares as late as four days before travel, make changes at anytime without charge, and the fares are fully refundable. The 55 Plus Worry Free Fares are valid on Economy Class transpacific flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York. http://www.cathayusa.com/55plus.

More Bleaching June 3, 2002

A coral bleaching epidemic has hit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, for the second time in four years is spreading through the coral islands of the South Pacific. Usually, bleached coral recovers in the next cool season, but if all the algae are lost, the coral will die and reefs will crumble. Thomas Goreau, president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance in Chappaqua, NY, says "The bleaching follows record sea temperatures since the beginning of the year. . . .Almost all the Great Barrier Reef was 2 degrees C or more above normal for more than two months from early January to mid-March . . . .This was hotter and longer than the bleaching that wiped out the Maldives, Seychelles and western Australian reefs in 1998." While the onset of a new El Niño is a contributor, Goreau says global warming is a key underlying factor. NewScientist, April 12

Little Cayman Diver June 3, 2002

When we reported a reader's comments few months back that the Little Cayman Diver was run down and captained by an unpleasant fellow, the owner complained bitterly to us by email. Now we're going to report that other readers are looking for the owner, because they paid for trips that were subsequently canceled - and haven't gotten their money back. Avoid this boat until you hear more from us.

-- Ben Davison, editor/publisher

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